Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)

Reference work entry
Part of the The Statesman's Yearbook book series (SYBK)

In Oct. 2000 the South Pacific Forum changed its name to the Pacific Islands Forum. As the South Pacific Forum it held its first meeting of Heads of Government in New Zealand in 1971. The Agreement Establishing the Forum Secretariat defines the membership of the Forum and the Secretariat. Decisions are reached by consensus. The administrative arm of the Forum, known officially as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is based in Suva, Fiji. In Oct. 1994 the Forum was granted observer status to the UN.

Members. Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Associate Members. French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Tokelau. Observers. The ACP Group, American Samoa, Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the United Nations, Wallis and Futuna, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, and the World Bank. Special Observers. International Organization for Migration, Timor-Leste.

Functions. The Secretariat’s mission is to provide policy options to the Pacific Islands Forum, and to promote Forum decisions and regional and international co-operation. The organization seeks to promote political stability and regional security; enhance the management of economies and the development process; improve trade and investment; and efficiently manage the resources of the Secretariat.

Activities. The Secretariat has four core divisions: Trade and Investment; Political and International Affairs; Development and Economic Policy; Corporate Services. It provides policy advice to members on social, economic and political issues. Since 1989 the Forum has held Post Forum Dialogues with key dialogue partners at ministerial level. There are currently 17 partners: Canada, China, Cuba, EU, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, UK and USA.

Organization. Established in 1972, the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation (SPEC) began as a trade bureau before being reorganized as the South Pacific Forum Secretariat in 1988. The Secretariat is headed by a Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General who form the Executive. The governing body is the Forum Officials Committee, which acts as an intermediary between the Secretariat and the Forum. The Secretariat operates four Trade Offices in Auckland, Beijing, Sydney and Tokyo.

The Secretary-General is the permanent Chair of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), which brings together nine main regional organizations in the Pacific region: Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO); Pacific Islands Development Programme (PIDP); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS); Pacific Power Association (PPA); Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC); Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP); South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO); and University of the South Pacific (USP).

  • Official language: English.

  • Headquarters: Ratu Sukuna Road, Suva, Fiji.

  • Website:

  • Secretary-General: Dame Meg Taylor (Papua New Guinea).

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